Designing Environments for Innovation
Washington D.C. and Crestone, CO.


Innovation in Leading Change


A consultative approach is applied to initiating and sustaining the creative work of groups and teams. Current research indicates that motivation is directly related to participation in decisions and plans that affect one’s future as well as to opportunities for self-management. There are many technologies available for including groups of people in real-time change management initiatives. These technologies are tailored and applied to the specific purpose, size, and objectives of each group and situation.

We offer you three case studies to illustrate the power of Innovations in Leading Change

Case One: Drafting an Asian Regional Initiative Against Trafficking in Women And Children

Case Two: Strategizing the Earlier Release of an Economic Survey

Case Three: Bi-Communal Leadership Development with Cypriots

Case One:
Drafting an Asian Regional Initiative Against Trafficking in Women And Children

The Invitation

Is it possible to bring one hundred participants from twenty-one Asian countries together in a three-day meeting in Manila that will result in the drafting of an Asian Regional Initiative Against Trafficking in Women and Children (ARIAT)? Can this be done in a way that will engage all participants in dialogue and learning rather than in passively listening to ‘white papers’ presented by panels of experts and authorities?

The Design for Innovation

The design was anchored in an appreciative approach to the topic which, by its very nature, can be a difficult one to discuss. The Crestone Institute began with the question, ‘What is working in your country and your area of responsibility?’ Following this, and using a carefully monitored process, all participants were invited to share their expertise and issues of concern across a wide spectrum of political, cultural, personal and functional perspectives.

The Outcomes

  • The meeting demonstrated the possibilities of a successful joint venture between two culturally disparate national governments, as event sponsors.
  • In the years since the conference, actions and policies made in Asia relied on this document as a guideline.
  • The participants experienced a learning environment in which all their opinions and experiences were expressed and sincerely listened to, they were eager to speak about what deeply interested them, they discovered new perspectives and innovative solutions, they were motivated to follow through on insights and decisions, and they developed genuine appreciation for others who were culturally unfamiliar.

Case Two:
Strategizing the Early Release of an Economic Survey

The Invitation

A government agency supplies time-sensitive survey to numerous public institutions. Can all eighty staff members of this agency be involved in strategizing how to make possible the earlier release of this survey?

The Design for Innovation

The Crestone Institute designed and facilitated a real-time analytic and decision-making event, involving over eighty participants.

At the section level, everyone voiced their concerns, challenges and acknowledgement of ‘what worked well’ during their most recent survey collection and analysis cycle. They analyzed patterns of behavior and assumptions that both contributed to and hindered their effectiveness.

At the branch level, everyone then came together to explore the bigger picture of their work and its consequences. They identified and prioritized strategies that would contribute to an earlier release of the survey.

The Outcomes

  • Participants and their managers learned more about each other’s experiences and became more aware of their need to interact as a seamless team.
  • Self-chosen action groups were formed and achieved significant results in the areas of highest priority.
  • Staff understood that their opinions and creative ideas were held in high regard by their Branch Manager and Division Chief. The enthusiasm and motivation resulting from this approach helped to fuel the completion of the action groups.
  • The group formulated frameworks to use in the continuous improvement of their survey collection and analysis.
  • The survey were released three months earlier than in the previous cycle.

Case Three:
Bi-Communal Leadership Development with Cypriots

The Invitation

Can twenty-five citizen leaders from Cyprus, of both Greek and Turkish heritage, critically examine their highly charged political relationship, and think creatively together about the future of their two nations while developing their capacities as leaders?

The Design for Innovation

The Crestone Institute designed the leadership-development segment of a more comprehensive program; Phase I began in Washington D.C. and Phase II continued in Nicosia, Cyprus.

To begin their focus on leadership, participants created a graphic that represented all their concerns and used this to look at the ‘forest rather than only the trees.’ As the program proceeded, they identified connections, common hopes and wishes as well as perspectives which could shift the current socio-political paradigms. They wrote individual visions for themselves as leaders, and then combined all their visions to create the sense of a potential future larger than a future seen by any singular individual.

The Outcomes

  • Action groups were formed. Members began to move their ideas forward.
  • In Nicosia, participants made it possible for each other to visit familiar yet forbidden places on ‘the other side of the Green Line.’ Many returned to childhood neighborhoods to which they had long been denied access. In so doing, participants served for each other as bridges across political and geographic divides.
  • A non-governmental organization (NGO) was formed.


If you would like to explore creative approaches to change in your organization, please contact us.

For other Opportunities with Crestone, see:
Leadership Development Through Dialogue | The Leadership Spiral | Personal Leadership


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